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Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

by Steven Brown

Snoring and sleep apnea are closely connected. However, you may snore and fail to have sleep apnea, but conventionally, if you suffer from sleep apnea, you must be snoring! Therefore, you must understand the differences between snoring and sleep apnea, their symptoms, and how you can treat them.

What is Sleep Apnea?

There are three common sleep apnea forms: central, combined, and obstructive sleep apnea. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type. According to sleep experts, this type happens when your throat muscles relax, making the soft tissues of your throat, mouth, and nose cave in, resulting in your breathing frequently halting and resuming.

The most common symptom related to sleep apnea is noisy snoring at night. If you fail to seek medical attention, sleep apnea can cause you to develop heart attack, weight gain, blood pressure, and memory loss.

What is Snoring?

Are you experiencing and wondering how to stop snoring while asleep at night? Perhaps you should start by understanding what snoring is and what causes it. Snoring happens when air flows across your throat’s relaxed muscles and tissues. The pressure created by the relaxed tissues and muscles causes the uvula to lower, resulting in vibration and unpleasant noise you know as snoring.

According to experts, snoring may happen momentarily or result from a concealed problem. Some factors that induce snoring include weight variation, repeated colds, age, and alcohol abuse. Additionally, snoring may indicate that you have severe health conditions, including sleep apnea.

So, apart from the difference in definition, what are the other differences between snoring and sleep apnea? To begin with, identifying the differences between the two can assist you in mitigating the issues and eradicating them since the treatments for each vary. The following is what you must understand concerning the difference between snoring and sleep apnea.

The Differences Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Already you must know what snoring sounds like because your sleep partner, you, or your neighbor has the condition, but do you know what causes it? As highlighted earlier, snoring happens due to the flapping and vibrating of the relaxed muscles and tissues within your throat, nose, and mouth while breathing air. Snoring can easily be augmented by several factors, including:

  • A stray septum
  • Allergies or chronic nasal problems
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Your sleeping position, particularly if you like sleeping on your back
  • Gaining excess weight

So, what about sleep apnea? First and foremost, as highlighted earlier, you should understand that there are two main forms of sleep apnea. Of the two, the most prevalent form is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which often results from airway blockage.

Additionally, OSA is the type of sleep apnea mostly related to snoring. The other form, relatively rare, is referred to as central sleep apnea (CSA) and results from weak signals from your brain to the muscles and tissues associated with breathing.

The main difference between snorting and sleep apnea (OSA) is that with OSA, your airways become obstructed to the extent that oxygen levels in your body diminish significantly. Often, this causes you to wake up from sleep at night abruptly.

According to sleep experts, these instances of awakening often happen for a few seconds, and you may not realize that they’re occurring. Nevertheless, these interferences often impact a healthy sleep pattern and may cause you to become fatigued.

The following are the common signs that your snoring condition might be signaling that you have sleep apnea, according to Mayo Clinic:

  • Early morning headaches
  • Another person takes notice of pauses in your breathing during the night
  • Waking with a feeling of being choked or gasping for air
  • Feeling tired or sleepy during the day

However, to be sure you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you’ll require a sleep test (commonly referred to as a “polysomnogram”). Often, this test monitors your heartbeat, blood oxygen levels, and other metrics. Failure to treat sleep apnea can cause severe health conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Final Word

There’s a close connection between snoring and sleep apnea. Nevertheless, there are differences you must take note of to manage these conditions effectively.

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